Water has a decisive influence on women's lives: from giving birth without sufficient water supply to limited participation in school lessons to hours spent procuring water. The latter means that women and girls have less time available to take advantage of educational opportunities and do paid work. This inequality of opportunities not only contradicts the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the UN, but affects the socio-economic development of the respective society.
Worldwide, women and girls spend 200 million hours a day procuring water.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is 16 million hours a day, whereas men spend 6 million hours on this task.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, children spend 4 million hours on this task.
For women and girls, insufficient access to clean water and sanitation leads to various problems. Long walking distances related to the procurement of water and the lack of separated and hygienic sanitation facilities increase the risk of violence or sexual assault. Women and girls avoid public toilets due to the lack of privacy and unhygienic facilities. As a result, they stay away from school especially during menstruation or drop out completely.
10-20% of young women in Africa do not go to school due to limited access to sanitation facilities.
Gender inequalities are found in poorer and wealthier societies alike. In Switzerland, wages are one example for this: women are on average paid 12% less than men, even if they have the same educational background and similar relevant work experience.
Although they are entrusted with responsible tasks, it is often necessary to remember how valuable and influential women are in development cooperation. For example, they are more willing than men to invest their savings in education, food and health. In respect to water, women's experiences with its use and their perspective on questions relating to its supply are essential. Due to the enormous relevance of water in their lives, women are of great value in any efforts towards a comprehensive and sustainable water supply. Yet, it is still often the case that only men are involved.
The efficiency of water projects is up to seven times higher when women are involved.